If you have been in my circles in the previous years, you probably know that I write a devotional every day for Advent and Lent and send it out to an email list. Those who follow along get to join the journey each day (usually morning) until the big events of Christmas and Lent. I started this over a decade ago and the list has grown and so has the dept of the season for me at least. I love getting responses back when people are moved, have questions, have comment, etc. That is actually my favorite part.
A couple of years ago, I realized that Advent felt much shorter than the Lenten journey did and I was yearning for more as the days got shorter. I wanted to dwell more in the waiting and journeying towards Jesus showing up. So I saw that part of the UMC was advocating for a 7 week Advent much like a 7 week Lent and was calling it “Extended Advent.” I hopped on that bandwagon and made the offer.
As of right now, we are in week two of this years Extended Advent journey. There are 233 subscribers to my daily email list and people add throughout the time..someone just added their name to the list today. I know from experience that these emails are shared, printed off, replied to and pondered. Some are better than others but we rarely agree which is which. I know I have my off days and like some devos better than others. Some people really love when I go in depth with Bible and some skip right over those days. Most people like more stories as we move along. A video clip here and there are usually appreciated. It means a little less blogging here but more writing in my daily life which I mostly love…there is usually one day when I take a break and call it sabbath.
What I am realizing most from this location of expat life is that I have been yearning for this journey because everything else seems different and this seems stabilizing. This feels centering but it also means I want to extend Advent in other ways as well. It is exactly 23 days until we leave for Portland and celebrate Christmas in Oregon which makes for some interesting conversations about how and if we celebrate the holidays much here. We made the decision yesterday to go ahead and start our Advent calendars now and make it a countdown until we leave so that we get to enjoy the max amount of days possible that Advent has to offer (and eat our candy while we are in the spirit). I have started to dip my toes into Christmas stuff when before I was staunchly against any Christmas celebration until after Thanksgiving. But here, Christmas markets are already appearing and why should I be such a stickler when I could just be more merry for longer in the midst of a darker season. In Berlin, if the sun seems to rise through the grey, right now we only have daylight until about 4pm. Time to break out whatever brings light to this season.
All of this to say…if you would like to join me, please do! Time for Advent to be in full force in my book. 🙂